Shikargar scene Ankus
North India, Rajasthan – 19th century
Materials: Stel, Iron, Brass, Wood, Pigment
The use of elephants as important method of transport is settled within India as early as 4000 BC when the first elephants believed to be tamed in the Indus Valley. The elephant is considered sacred by the Hindu as they believe they are incarnated from Ganesh, the elephant god. The ‘ankusa‘ is the Sanskrit word for elephant goad and is considered both functional as ceremonial. It is considered one of the eight auspicious ‘Ashtamangala‘ objects. It consists of a shaft with an attached spearhead and sharp hook, often decorated with fine chisel work.
Made of wood, decorated with handprinted ‘shikargar’ (hunting) scenes depicting tigers hunting after deer. The front and end are decorated in elaborate floral motifs. The lower end of the shaft is ribbed and ends in a rounded knob, decorated with a sun petal decoration. This example can be dated to the 19th century. A similar example, without ‘shikargar’-scene, was presented to King Edward VII, Prince of Wales during his visit to India in 1875-1876.
The head of the ‘ankus‘ is made of chiseled steel and consists of two parts; a spearhead and a curved hook. The spearhead has a square shaped rod with chiseled segments and flowers of inlayed brass. The tip is rounded and features brass inlay lines.
The hook is strongly curved and has a diamond cross section. The small protruding end depicts a snake or ‘naga‘ head.
Condition: Very good, some minor ware on the polychrome decoration.
Tip length: 15cm
Total length: 57.5cm
– Ravinder Reddy: ‘Arms & Armour of India, Nepal& Sri Lanka’ p.272-273.
– Robert Elgood: ‘Hindu Arms and Rituals. p.21-28.
– Royal Collection Trust, United Kingdom acc.nr. RCIN 37571
To give everybody a fair chance to be the first on new arrivals, hit the subscribe button below.